Kakao ordered to draw up measures to prevent possible data center outage

SEOUL– The ICT ministry said Tuesday it will order the country’s top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp. to come up with measures within a month to prevent a recurrence of a service outage stemming from a data center fire.

The move came after a fire on Oct. 15 at the SK C&C building, in Pangyo, just south of Seoul, had caused an extensive internet, banking and messenger service disruption here as the data center houses servers of Kakao and Naver Corp., South Korea’s two major tech giants.

Nearly all online services provided by Kakao, ranging from online messenger KakaoTalk to banking service Kakao Bank and traffic app Kakao T, were affected as the company locates most of its servers at the Pangyo data center. The service disorder continued for some five days.

Naver’s services suffered a partial malfunction on the day of the fire, but they were restored in a few hours.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said the fire had started at a battery room in the third basement of the SK C&C building. The fire was extinguished some eight hours later, but an immediate power shutdown at the data center caused a server outage in services.

The ministry said Kakao’s dual response system to activate a standby server after a disorder in the main server did not work well when the fire broke out. And the company has only a built-in backup and does not have a double system in a separate data center to take over the role in case of emergency.

The ministry demanded Kakao establish an enhanced multiplex backup system and come up with plans to have multiple nonintegrated data protection solutions.

Also, Kakao was required to map out detailed plans to compensate people for their damage caused by the service disruptions.

The ministry said SK C&C needs to strengthen its battery monitoring and fire detection system as its fire response protocol lacks detailed action plans or schedules for fire drills.

At the same time SK C&C, Kakao and Naver were ordered to draw up a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios like a data center fire and report the results of a fire drill.

Based on the reported plans by the companies, the ICT ministry will set up comprehensive guidelines for digital service stability in the first quarter.

Kakao, Naver and SK C&C said they take the government’s demand seriously and will reflect it in their follow-up measures.

“We will come up with our analysis of the cause of the incident and preventive steps this week. We will thoroughly review the government’s demand for devising complementary measures,” a Kakao official said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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